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Tourism minister vows to help industry win business

John Glen gives "firm commitment" to engage more ministers and help industry work with government

Pictured: Tourism minister John Glen

Tourism minister John Glen has promised to help the industry work directly with government to win business.

The MP emphasised the importance of business visits and spoke about “the need to have more of my ministerial colleagues engaged to get it over the line.”

He said: “I’m giving a firm commitment that if there’s anything I can do to get my colleagues to help you win business I will do. It’s really important to me. I’m not just here to make up the numbers, I’m here to be your advocate and your friend.

“It’s really important we get together in tourism and business events to work out where the opportunities lie and where we can grow the market in a critical time for this country.”

Glen was speaking at a welcome reception ahead of the Business of Events Leadership Forum, which is being held at the QEII Centre. The reception, at One Great George Street in Westminster, was also attended by senior members of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Events, government officials and senior members from across the UK events industry.

The minister also spoke about his direct experience of organising a conference and the importance of meetings and events as an exchange of culture and ideas.

He said: “Before I was an MP I worked in business for 13 years for Accenture. One of my jobs was to arrange a conference, it was a Europe-wide conference of strategy consultants in Italy. We had a fantastic time, the whole experience of selecting venues, guest speakers for a challenging group of visitors stayed with me for a long time. I hope I can use that directly in my work in this industry.”

He added that he had spoken to delegates from the European Society of Cardiology, which took place at ExCeL in 2015 and is set to return in 2021.

He said: “They explained what a positive experience they had in 2015, but they also made a few observations. It’s not just about getting venues, hotels and spaces. It’s also about an exchange of cultures and ideas, leaving a mark on that place you’ve come to visit for four or five days.

“We can go through the economic advantages, but we need to think about the human side of this. It’s not just a mercantile activity, it’s a human exchange of ideas. I think it’s important we see it in that way as well.”

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